Once a behemoth in the scene, Channel AKA (formerly Channel U) announced that it is finally coming off the air after a pioneering 15 years. The most fickle of audiences, the 16-24s, have seen radical shifts in the way they watch things since Channel U’s heyday. Gone are the days of deftly punching in the three digit number on a battered Sky Remote, to reveal the gritty cinematography accompanying the tunes that had poured out of Sony K750i’s and Samsung D500’s during those cramped bus rides to school.
Now the youth of today has access to this audio visual experience that Channel U once offered at their fingertips, courtesy of their trusty smartphones and the omnipresence of New Media. With this changing of the guard, it is beholden on to us, the new flag-bearers to pay homage to the bricklayers that paved the way for us. We’ve compiled 11 classic tracks remembering some of the iconic moments that Channel U brought to us.
P2J Project – “Hands in the Air”
Undoubtedly one of the most recognisable tracks from the glory days of Channel U. Everything about this track now oozes nostalgia, the instrumental, the MC names and of course the now vintage New Era hats that everyone wanted to get their hands on.
Choong Family – “Injury Time”:
The name of the crew might be an enigma to the newer age fans as “Choong” has not been a slang word that has stood the test of time; a respect for lyricism thankfully has, expect particular heat from the likes of Logan and widely respected veteran Mike GLC. The instrumental is another standout feature as a flute punctuates each MCs lyrical onslaughts.
Klashnekoff – “Its Murda”
Arguably one of the greatest UK rap tracks to date. It was one of the singles released from Klashenoff’s seminal debut album The Sagas of which is packed with classics like “All I’ve Got”, “Black Rose” and “Parrowdice”. With the likes of Lewis Parker and Harry Love producing your album it’s difficult for it not to be a hit.
More Fire Crew – “Oi”
In its time this was another inescapable track, which was always on regular rotation on Channel U. Even though it’s been 15 years since the tune dropped, it still shuts down raves. More Fire Crew reunited to perform this track at last years Rated Awards to celebrate Lethal B picking up the coveted Legacy award.
Nu Brand Flexxx – “Gash By The Hour”
2018 marks ten years since this was released, feel old yet? The catchy chorus has ensured that this song has stuck in our heads for about that long!
Scarz – “You Got Boy’d”
Keeping in line with catchy choruses, Scarz’s raucous offering is undoubtedly another one that has stuck with us through the years. Despite the misleading song title, the track is actually a call to arms for those who have been subject to any sort of bullying.
Frontlinerz – “Down”
Up there with P2J Hands in the Air, the instrumental is one of those instantly recognizable Channel U classics. It was certainly highly sought after on the back of the bus song trafficking black market of yesteryear.
Street Politiks – “I’ll Ride”
It wasn’t always road and hype that graced Channel U, there was plenty of room for infectious summer bangers like this scorcher from Street Politiks, aside from the visuals the song hasn’t aged a day and could easily slot into any summer playlist today.
Lady Ny & Purple – “Fire”
Lady Ny was a songstress with a bright future and in 2007 dropped this instant classic featuring West London rapper Purple. The video actually features cameos from Professor Green and beatboxer Faith SFX. Again, Channel U shows that they championed the scene as a whole offering platforms for singers not just MCs.
Lightnin & Tension – “Hard Life”
Lightnin was one of the fledglings who was affiliated with The Movement. Lightnin can be heard spitting alongside the likes of Devlin, Little Nasty and Griminal on the under 18 F Radio sets. This was one of his breakthrough songs which showed his socially conscious side and introduced us to the incredible vocals of Tension.
N Dubz – “Better Not Waste My time”
Before the Camden trio would go on to multi-platinum selling albums and TV shows, they were on Channel U with this song. 12 years since the release of this song, Dappy has made an impassioned comeback to making music, Tulisa has done plenty of hosting gigs on terrestrial TV and Fazer is the brains behind the boards and has turned his hand to production.